Specialty Care is Fundamental

When I first saw her in the emergency department, she didn’t look like a child with recent onset blindness who we were told would arrive that day.  Her uncontrolled, bobbing head, wildly darting eye movements, and wobbly gait implied there was a broader explanation for her problems, and her constant tears made it clear that she was miserable. For almost a month, she had difficulty seeing and walking, and she arrived the Partners in Health’s (PIH) tertiary referral hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti after winding through a stream of doctors visits, email referrals, car rides, and brain scans.  Upon seeing her uncoordinated attempts at standing, my mind replayed a recent conversation with a pediatric neurologist: “If you see any kids there with chorea, it’s probably Sydenham’s.” (more…)

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Obstacles and Modern Marvels


Haiti is always eye opening for me. From the magnificent clouds that caress the landscape, the overwhelming kindness of the people (many of whom outwardly have very little), to the prevalent horrors that afflict human beings – there are many “shocking” things here. As an outsider it is easy to be discouraged quickly by all that is apparently missing from the healthcare system, but one must not forget that Haitian nurses and doctors have been providing lifesaving care with any and all of the resources available to them. (more…)

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Can an ultrasound be healing?

We have just arrived on the internal medicine ward at St Therese Hospital in Hinche, a regional district hospital in Haiti’s Central Plateau.  Despite its position as a district level hospital, the ward has few resources for diagnosis or treatment, and the resources it does have may be available only intermittently.   And yet into this environment come patients with severe illness, often at late stages of presentation. (more…)

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